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How do you go about learning a new song?

GUEST,Texas Guest 17 Sep 07 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 17 Sep 07 - 09:20 PM
kendall 17 Sep 07 - 09:22 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 17 Sep 07 - 09:30 PM
Leadfingers 17 Sep 07 - 09:32 PM
Ron Davies 17 Sep 07 - 09:51 PM
Beer 17 Sep 07 - 09:52 PM
Ron Davies 17 Sep 07 - 09:56 PM
Liz the Squeak 17 Sep 07 - 10:47 PM
Deckman 17 Sep 07 - 10:52 PM
MystMoonstruck 18 Sep 07 - 01:26 AM
Jim Lad 18 Sep 07 - 02:59 AM
GRex 18 Sep 07 - 03:16 AM
ossonflags 18 Sep 07 - 04:00 AM
Eye Lander 18 Sep 07 - 05:03 AM
Sir Roger de Beverley 18 Sep 07 - 05:28 AM
Marje 18 Sep 07 - 08:53 AM
Waddon Pete 18 Sep 07 - 09:07 AM
kendall 18 Sep 07 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Sep 07 - 10:08 AM
Mrrzy 18 Sep 07 - 10:18 AM
Mrrzy 18 Sep 07 - 10:24 AM
Bee 18 Sep 07 - 11:24 AM
kendall 18 Sep 07 - 12:33 PM
synbyn 18 Sep 07 - 12:40 PM
Rumncoke 18 Sep 07 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 18 Sep 07 - 02:06 PM
Ebbie 18 Sep 07 - 03:12 PM
the button 18 Sep 07 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,Don Firth 18 Sep 07 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 18 Sep 07 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Don Firth 18 Sep 07 - 04:11 PM
the button 18 Sep 07 - 04:15 PM
kendall 18 Sep 07 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,Russ 18 Sep 07 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Don Firth 18 Sep 07 - 05:30 PM
Tootler 18 Sep 07 - 06:24 PM
Herga Kitty 18 Sep 07 - 06:59 PM
GUEST,mg 18 Sep 07 - 07:55 PM
Beer 18 Sep 07 - 08:00 PM
Herga Kitty 18 Sep 07 - 08:09 PM
Don Firth 18 Sep 07 - 08:27 PM
Marje 19 Sep 07 - 07:20 AM
Ruth Archer 19 Sep 07 - 08:17 AM
GUEST,Terry McDonald 19 Sep 07 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,Warwick Slade 19 Sep 07 - 09:36 AM
ossonflags 19 Sep 07 - 10:57 AM
stallion 19 Sep 07 - 11:03 AM
Rumncoke 19 Sep 07 - 02:55 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Sep 07 - 05:23 PM
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Subject: Do you learn new songs as written, or,...?
From: GUEST,Texas Guest
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:10 PM

Just a bit of curiosity here. When you sit down to learn a song that
was written or recorded by someone else - how do you go about it?
Do you learn the song and then perform it virtually note-for-note?
Do you get it down "pretty close" to the original but leave a little room for your own interpretation; or, do you just learn the words, figure out the chords and get the "gist" of the melody - allowing for
a lot of interpretation on your part? Or, maybe you take another
approach all together - so, how do you do what you do when you do what you do for us? Cheers.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:20 PM

WHOLE

Part

WHOLE

Listern and practice the whole. Break down into two to four measures. Practice until each grouping of measures is PERFECT......piece by piece combine back into the entire piece.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: kendall
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:22 PM

I always write the words down long hand, then sing the first verse until it prints itself on my memory. Then, learn another and another until they are all in there.
I don't believe in making a lot of changes, but I have to do it my way. Utah Phillips and Eric Bogle like what I did with their songs, so I guess my method is ok.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:30 PM

I have known a couple of others (BRILLANT Minds) that are "Kinesthetic Learners"

The movement of the writing process works for them (not me)

Kendal has a valid point - for maximum efficancy you need to understand YOUR particular learning style.

Reflect, back .... what has worked for you in the past? GROUPS? COLORS? MOVEMENT? MIMIC of SOUND? TOUCH?

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:32 PM

Agreed with what Kendall says ! Learn the song - Write it out , sort out the chord run , and work om it til it DOESNT sound like who ever you got it from !! When it sounds like YOU , THEN you can sing it in Public .


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:51 PM

I find that even if you listen to a particular version quite a bit and think you're doing it that way, once you start doing it yourself you're bound to change a few words, possibly the tune somewhat also. So you really don't have to worry about doing a slavish copy of your original. This is probably more true of unaccompanied songs--but even your chords may be different. Of course I don't see the point to even looking a chord charts--you should change chords when you think the song needs it--when it sounds right to you.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Beer
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:52 PM

I am known for my voice (that is was.). I play rhythm guitar and can't read a note. I can pretty much hear a song once, pick up the guitar and play and hum the melody. Once the melody is in my head i have it. Next is to find the words. thanks to the Internet most can be found fairly quickly.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 09:56 PM

"looking at chord charts"


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 10:47 PM

I find listening to it over and over helps stick the tune in my memory. I'm afraid there's very little else I can do to keep the words in there as well which is why I usually have my little black book with me. If I want to perform the song, I have to "listen" to it in my head and quietly hum over the tune before I do it.

If it's one that I don't have a recording for, if I'm learning it from a book then I have to have the dots in front of me and just sing it over and over til it's in my head.

Even then, it's touch and go.

LTS


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Sep 07 - 10:52 PM

I start ... AND THIS IS IMPORTANT ... at the liquor store! Bob


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: MystMoonstruck
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 01:26 AM

Most music I learn by listening to the melody enough times that I can hum it. If I can hum it unerringly, trying to match the original as closely as my ears allow, I play it on my bowed psaltery. Often, I can play it through the first time.

Hey! Isn't that the Professor Harold Hill Method?! La de da de da de da~da de da~da de da...

When I'm learning from a book, I stumble through it a lot more~unless I suddenly realize, "I know this song!" Then, I play what I hear in my head. The next time through, I see if my memory matches the book's notes. Sometimes, the version in the book doesn't please me as much as the version I've heard. Then, I go with playing by ear. If I like both versions, I learn both of them.

It's much easier for me to play by ear than to battle with a book, especially when I have to turn a page in the midst of things.

Later, when I'm playing in public, I usually stick with what I learned although I can add some flourishes when necessary. For example, somewhere I picked up a bit of melody to add between playing Coventry Carol, meaning: I play it through, play the "bridge", then play it through again, ending on a slightly different note. I try not to stray from how I learned a piece.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 02:59 AM

Much the same as Kendall. I write it out by hand. Stop listening to the other versions. Play it through until I make a mistake & start again.
By the time I can play it three times without forgetting any words, I've started working on the phrasing and and developing my own interpretation. Then, if I still like it, I'll use it.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GRex
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 03:16 AM

Unlike Beer, it takes me some time to get a tune firmly fixed in my head. Once I'm confident with tune, I memorize one verse at a time, that is I keep repeating one verse until it is well planted in my mind before memorising the next. Seem to have no problem remembering choruses. This method has worked for me for several years.
            GRex


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: ossonflags
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:00 AM

How refreshing to see a thread about how to actually LEARN to sing and play a song,as apposed to reading it from a book or a piece of paper

Yhis now seems to be the norm for people to carry around lever arch files and sheaves of paper .........I even saw some one with one of those hand held computor things the other day.

If the song is good enough to sing it is good enough to learn.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Eye Lander
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 05:03 AM

Ah, how I wish I were able to retain words in my head. I can sing a chorus along with the best, but if someone were to ask me to lead a chorus..... I wouldn't remember half of it.

Jillie


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Sir Roger de Beverley
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 05:28 AM

Like Mick(ossonflags)I am blessed with a good memory and rarely forget the words of any song. However, how I learn them varies enormously:

With some I can hear them for the first time and immediately picture the chords and the arrangement in my head. With others I can buy the song book and puzzle over it for years and never get the song to my satisfaction.

What they all have in common for me, though, is that I have to perform the song in public to "fix" it in my head. If I don't play it to an audience it will slip away and I'll need to learn it again. If I do play it, once is enough and I can then recall it even after (in one case) a gap of 30+ years.

Roger


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Marje
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 08:53 AM

As often, there's a bit of transatlantic confusion here: in the US, "song" is used more loosely to cover songs with words and also (sometimes) tunes with no words. In the UK, a "song" always has words; otherwise it's a tune.

Also, it seems from the comments above, as elsewhere, that US singers are more likely to be playing a guitar, and to regard this as the important part of "the song"; in the UK, some singers have this idea, while others regard "the song" as what is sung (words and melody), while the accompaniment, if there is one at all, is - well, just an accompaniment.

I find that it helps me to learn the melody first. I do this also when I'm being invited to join in a chorus that's new to me - I have to hum the melody first and get that in my head. Then, once I've got that sorted, I'll learn the words. When learning a song in private, I'll often have the words written out, and will maybe prop them up somewhere in the kitchen, or take them out with me in the car (only as a passenger!) so that I can go through them until I think I know them. I'll look out for things to help me remember - sequences of events, repetition, things that are almost repeated but not quite, etc.

If I've learned it from a recording, I'll stop listening to the recording once I've learned the tune and got the words down. I like to make the song my own from that point on. But I'll try to pay heed to whatever it was that attracted me to the recording in the first place.

Then (my personal memory trick) I get a little card, the size of a credit card, and write down the title, and the key that suits me best for that song. On the back of the card I write a few prompts to help me through - often the first words of each verse, plus any tricky parts or things like personal and place names that I may find difficult to remember. Once I've done this, I can usually dispense with the wordsheet and do any "revision" I need from the card.

Only then will I think about accompaniment. I often sing unaccompanied, but even when using an instrument, I think the song should be complete and familiar and as good as it can be before anything is added to it. If it doesn't sound much good without an accompaniment, you have to consider the possibility that either the song itself or the performance is not good enough.

Marje


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 09:07 AM

Hello,

A good idea for a thread! Certainly made me think. I guess I'm with Kendall on this. Writing the words out in longhand, (preferably with a fountain pen), helps fix the words for me too. You can't beat writing with a fountain pen for really interacting with the words on the page.

I find it interesting that, although I might like a song and want to sing it, if it is not the song for me...it won't stay in my head!

Other songs just stick like glue. Sometimes you wish it were possible to forget them! (Could be another thread here!)

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: kendall
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 09:24 AM

I knew a man who was a pro entertainer, and he never took the stage without his music stand and big note book.He sang the same dozen or so songs for 50 years and never learned any of them. He was an object of humor for that quirk.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 10:08 AM

1.Sing along with the recording or sheet music for a while. Concentrate on the plot and the rhymes.

2. Sing it while working around the house or driving in a safe environment, nailing the hard parts.

3. Folk process as needed over time.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 10:18 AM

I'm a singer, not a player, Mr. Spock.
The way I learn a new song is to listen to it over and over and try to sing along, and when I feel I have the "story" down, I go and try to write down all the lyrics from beginning to end. If I'm missing any chunks I'll usually come here to the 'Cat to find what I'm not hearing... then I listen to it some more and sing along, then try to write down all the lyrics *from beginning to end* again.
It takes a lot longer, I find, if I do the "whole part whole" suggested above - that is, if I just fill in the missing chunks, and then try to sing the whole song. Every time I fill in a chunk, I go back to the beginning.
Also, I "get" songs by the do-re-mi method of knowing the intervals, so I can sing it when alone in a more comfortable key than when I sing along with the original. In fact, I am reliably informed that if I then sing the song three times in a row, each renditions may be in a different key, but they are all "right" in the sense that it IS the tune. I apparently can't tell a key from a hole in a door, hee hee.
I also have a tendency to sing in the original singer's *accent* - no matter what it is - and I can learn songs in languages I don't speak by using this method with phonetic spelling. Mom has found it very funny because I know songs in Dalmatian but where I've split the words isn't what the words are (like singing "svep ti chitze" when it was "sve ptichitze) - apparently what comes out is kinda like Ladle Rat Rotten Hut - but I *can* sing along with the record.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 10:24 AM

Oh, yeah, if I find something that rhymes or scans better, I'll "improve" (in one verse in one folk song I learned from Cynthia Gooding, she uses "at sea" for all three rhymes, and I changed one to "said she" (it worked for the story) to avoid that double repetition.
Also, I find myself more and more editing for my version of PCness - the P is for Personal, not Political - and using, say, "folks" instead of "men" when talking about people, and "they" instead of "he" when gender is unknown (and coordinating the verbs as appropriate) if it doesn't upset the rhyme.
I also enjoy rewriting religious songs whose tunes and messages I like to remove all the god nonsense and just sing about the beautiful message with the beautiful tune. I especially like, and have posted here somewhere, my version of Peter, Paul and Mary's version of The Magi.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Bee
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 11:24 AM

I've been teaching myself to play guitar and sing for less than two years - the guitar is a slow process, but I've got a lot of chords, and I'll learn a new one if the song needs it.

So - to learn a song, I have a variety of approaches. Often I'm learning to play songs I haven't heard in 30 or 40 years, but I have a good memory for tunes (at least I think I do). I find the lyrics and write them out longhand. If the chord structure is fairly simple, I work it out myself, if not, I'll look online and occasionally beg for help here. Then I learn it all at once, playing the chords and reading the lyrics as I sing until I can look away from the page and sing without. A dozen times is usually enough to fix up to six verses in my memory.

If I'm learning a song I've gotten to like recently, and have on CD, I'll play the song and sing along, transcribe the words, try to figure out chords, and then proceed as before. If a song has a simple tune, I can often remember it with just two or three 'listens'. I managed to learn The Wild Goose after hearing it four times, but had to get help here with the chords, and my version varies quite a bit from the Travellers' version I actually heard - hey, there's just one of me!


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: kendall
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 12:33 PM

I will change a word or two if the ones I am hearing are not correct. The folk process allows a lot of leeway in this area, but I can't sing lyrics that make no sense.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: synbyn
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 12:40 PM

Tom & Barbara Brown do a festival spot called 'Making The Song Your Own'- I'll leave them to explain how! For myself, I lose the instruments and learn the tune and words simulataneously by singing them out loud until they're pretty well fixed, then try to fit the guitar or mandolin around them. Otherwise you're stuck with the thrum or technique of the instrument rather than the voice coming through as imho it should if a song's words are truly the focus...


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 01:51 PM

Yes - thats how I do it too.

If from a recording, I sing along with that for several repetitions, then I sing it, unacompanied, until it starts to sound like one of my songs, then I take my guitar,(wind instrument) recorder or keyboard and play along to how I am singing it. I use a cassette tape to record my efforts - I supose one day I might have to learn to use some other medium, but the cassette is so convenient.

I find that if I learn the way of playing from the original recording it stays like that, but by leaving a gap and working out my own way of playing the tune then it is much less like the way I first heard it.

I do need to have a book these days - I found that my memory was failing about ten years ago.

Now I find that I should have written them larger.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 02:06 PM

How I wish I could "learn" a new song. I soon pick up the tune and sort the chords but can I remember the words? I remember the songs I learnt in the '60s, but the one I learnt last week. Forget it!
Well actually, I have.
So all you who criticise people who read the words spare a thought for the over 60s. (Make that a kind thought)
Warwick


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Ebbie
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 03:12 PM

As has been mentioned before, there appears to be a difference in learning/remembering words when one wrote them oneself. I think that remembering someone else's words is much easier. I have no idea why that is, although I suspect that being dispassionate and objective rather than possibly being anxious and defensive about them helps.

It may well be that the professional songwriter - someone who cranks them out by the hour (I know a very good musician who says that she writes "probably an average of three songs a day", although she doesn't keep all of them)- is detached enough to treat the songs as though they were written by someone else.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: the button
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 03:40 PM

I listen to it so much that I find myself singing it to myself on the way to work, and at inopportune moments. In fact, "Do I find myself singing this one to myself on the way to work, and at inopportune moments?" is a key question for me in terms of whether I add a song to my repertoire. To be honest, I never really set out to "learn a song" -- it's the ones that get under my skin that I'm interested in.

I'd echo what Rumncoke says about accompaniment though -- I'd want to be able to sing it unaccompanied before I decided whether to pick up my guitar or concertina.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Don Firth
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 03:46 PM

This is a long one, but then, you did ask. . . .

I take a couple of slightly different approaches, depending on the source of the song. If I'm learning it from a record (or tape or CD, etc.), I listen to it several times, humming or singing along with it. While I'm doing this, I'm writing down the words. I used to do it longhand, but now I generally type them out on my laptop (e.g., listening to the CD in the CD drive while typing and playing it several times if necessary, which it usually is). By the time I've got the words all typed, the tune is usually fairly well established in my ear.

I'll try singing the song, reading the words off the screen. I may print off a copy of the words and stick it into a shirt pocket, so that, as I wander about singing the song (at least in my head), if I get stuck, I can pull it out and refresh my memory.
As I'm memorizing the words and tune, I'll pick up the guitar and play through the melody, to determine the highest and lowest notes in the song, and that gives me a clue as to what key would work best for my voice. As I do this, chords tend to suggest themselves, but I save that till later. I put the guitar aside for now.

If I'm learning a song from a song book, I play through the melody on the guitar (I can sight-read for voice, but I'm lousy at it, and the first time through is usually a laborious process—easier for me to pick it out on the guitar). Reading the words and picking out the melody on the guitar, I try singing through the song until I've got the tune in my ear. By this time, I've undoubtedly learned that the tune, as written, is too high for my voice (I'm a bass-baritone, and most song books put songs in a sort of average or mid-range key. Too high for me). Here again, I check the highest and lowest notes written, and crank them down to a range that's more compatible. But still, I don't work out the chords and the rest of the accompaniment yet. Once again, I set the guitar aside. [There is a good reason for this.] Then I print off a copy of the words to carry around with me, as above (crib sheet).

Then, whether from a recording or a song book, I sing the song a lot—without accompaniment—without the guitar, until I have it down pat. I carry a Kratt "Master Key" chromatic pitch pipe (a little black and chrome "circular harmonica") in my pocket along with the words, and I check from time to time to see just where I am as I practice the song. Still, no guitar.

I study the song to make sure that I know what the heck it's all about. This seems obvious, but I've noticed that a lot of singers do the same thing I used to do when I first started out:   learn a song without really knowing what it was all about and sing it by rote. Then I took some singing lessons from a teacher who, when I sang songs for him that I was learning, would stop me and say, 'Okay, what does that line mean?" He knew perfectly well, but he wanted to make sure that I knew what the blazes I was singing about, and not just singing "words." Good point! Then, I work out phrasing and breathing points to try to bring out the meaning of the words. It's at this point that I may "folk process" a bit. Without changing the sense of a line, I may change a word or two, or the order or words, if a line sings clumsily. I try not to change the tune any, and almost never do, unless an interval is just bloody awkward. In that case, I'll try to pick a note that harmonizes with the "original" note. If well chosen, most people won't even notice, and if I'm singing with someone who's singing the "right" tune, at least we won't "clank." This sort of thing, I was told by an English professor who taught a course I took in "The Popular Ballad," is permissible if done judiciously and with understanding:   "A minstrel's prerogative."

When memorizing a song, I will often sing through the song silently, in my head, as I'm going to sleep. Experience tells me that this works well to speed the process. If you've listened to the song a lot, it's in there, even if you can't get at it all at once. Let your subconscious work on it some.

Once I've got the song down solidly, I sing it without accompany for several days or a week or two. Then I pick up the guitar. By now, my voice has pretty well established what key I should sing the song in.

This is important. Some keys on the guitar, particularly those using first-position open-string chords, are fairly easy to play in. C, G, D, A, and E, along with Am, Em, and sometimes Dm, depending. Do not let the ease or the difficulty of playing in a particular key induce you or force you to sing in a key that's not optimum for your voice. If you find that you've been singing the song (unaccompanied) in the key of B (not easy to play on the guitar), you may be perfectly comfortable upping it a half-step to C. Or in F, you might get away with dropping it a half-step to E. But especially in minor keys, or in major keys where you want to use some of the relative minor chords, the guitar can be pretty limited.

Or you may find that you're singing it in D or E, but you can get a much better accompaniment (along with a couple of relative minor chords thrown in) in the key of C.

Use a capo.

The accompaniment must be in the service of, and subservient to, the song. Not the other way around.

One of the advantages of all that practice singing without accompaniment is that if you want to sing somewhere and you don't have an instrument available, you're still in good shape, because you're not dependent on the instrument. And singing unaccompanied is very "traditional." (Some singers come all unglued if they don't have a guitar to hide behind.)

By the way, one of the advantages of typing out the words on the computer is that when you've worked out what key you're going to do the song in and know the chords, you can pull up the words, double-space the first verse and chorus, and type the chords in over the words where the changes occur. Then, format the song-sheet nicely, add the title at the top in a larger font and boldface [I usually type something like "(traditional – Child #20)" in italics under the title], then at the bottom (or on another page for the back of the sheet), I add notes about where I learned the song and some background about the song itself. Save it to disk, of course. Then print it out on a good piece of 24 lb. bond paper, punch it with a three-hole punch, and put it into a three-ring binder.

Bingo!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 03:54 PM

I must take issue with Don Firth. It is best stored in FOUR RING BINDER


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Don Firth
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:11 PM

Quite probably so. Belt and suspenders.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: the button
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:15 PM

If you're posting from the US, we call them "braces" in the UK. If you're posting from the UK, whatever floats your boat. ;-)


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: kendall
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:25 PM

I know a certain bluegrass/folkie who refers to people who lug notebooks around as "Those fucking book people".


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 04:57 PM

I never learn tunes from paper.
I do learn words from paper.

I learn tunes by listening to them until I can whistle or sing them.
Then I figure out how to play the tune on the instrument of choice.

Extremely inefficient, but I'm in no hurry.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Don Firth
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 05:30 PM

Ah, yes, button, I was using the word in the American sense. But the UK meaning of "suspenders" does conjure up quite a pleasant visual. . . .

If one knows several hundred songs and there are ones you haven't sung for some years, it's nice to be able to grab the notebook and refresh your memory. As to lugging notebooks around, mine are strictly for reference and they stay at home.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Tootler
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 06:24 PM

How refreshing to see a thread about how to actually LEARN to sing and play a song,as apposed to reading it from a book or a piece of paper

Yhis now seems to be the norm for people to carry around lever arch files and sheaves of paper .........I even saw some one with one of those hand held computor things the other day.

If the song is good enough to sing it is good enough to learn.


Ah! the counsel of perfection from one whose memory never lets him down.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 06:59 PM

I'm with Kendall - writing or typing out the verses and learning a verse at a time, going back to the beginning and singing through the verses I've learned till I get to the last verse. Highlighting the first words of the verses can help.

Recently, when I'm actually at the folk club and thinking of singing a song I've not sung for a while so I'm not sure about, I've found myself writing the words out to check whether I still remember them....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 07:55 PM

Here..follow my lead. let someone else sing it and then just go hum hum hum la la la heave away my jolly lads and bridle up the snow white steed etc...try to look intelligent whilst doing this. mg


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Beer
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 08:00 PM

lol.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 08:09 PM

Tootler - it's not a counsel of perfection to suggest that songs be learned rather than read. Even if you have the words handy in case you forget them.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Sep 07 - 08:27 PM

Yeah, Mary, I do that a lot sometimes!

(Don't tell anybody!)

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Marje
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 07:20 AM

I agree with Kitty about learning words - of course we all forget them sometimes (hence my tip about key words on cards, above) but using a prompt is a world away from not learning them at all. I hate it when a singer is singing every word off the page as if he/she has never seen it before (including the chorus which the rest of us are expected to get right!)- it just comes between the singer and the listener, and spoils the song for me. Glancing at a prompt sheet or card between verses or for the odd forgotten line is quite different from not bothering to try to learn it in the first place.
And so what if you're over 60? Learning new stuff is good for the old grey matter - it's far too young to give up and decide you can't learn anything new.

Marje


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 08:17 AM

Put them on my iPod, and listen in the car - I have a long commute to work. Once I know them, I sing them in the car without the iPod, and that's when they stop sounding like the original singer's arrangement and start sounding like me.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Terry McDonald
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 08:34 AM

Warwick - you're just waiting for me to bite, aren't you? So I will - I'm the same age as you and I have absolutely no problem with learning the words of new songs, even 'long' ones. Just try harder old friend......It'll come with practice!


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: GUEST,Warwick Slade
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 09:36 AM

Well Terry, I knew you could not resist my bait. Of course you know I am a lazy old git but every one else thinks I'm a poor old man trying his best.
I promise to practice more and I'll be doing the ones I remember at the Wessex Acoustic tonight
Enjoy the USofA


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: ossonflags
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 10:57 AM

A good point "Guest" Warwick S, but I am sixty two, perform with my band and solo on a regular basis and still manage to learn new songs without "safety nets". I also managed to win the Fred Jordan memorial trophy for unaccompanied singers at Saltburn festival this year.....................also gave up smoking on my sixty first birthday after being addicted to the weed for over fifty years.......so I guess if you want to do something badly enough you stick on in there.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: stallion
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 11:03 AM

I don't like getting songs from a cd, I get Martin and Ron to do it, better Martin cos he sight reads for voice, that way I only get their version. When I do learn a song it is because the melody has caught my imagination and I find myself humming it usually there are "mistakes" which I leave in, next, pitch the key for power, tone and ornamentation. The difficult bit, learning the words, just sing it over and over again, funny though, the way I learn songs is that one line cue's the next and if the line goes the song goes, must be a memory thing I am not really conscious of it. When the three of us are learning a new song who ever leads has usually a firm grasp on it and we move the key a semi tone at a time til we find the key that the harmonies work the best, a couple of times I get pushed out of my comfort zone but it is for the greater good. Maybe someone can explain but the less familiar I am with a melody the easier i find the harmony maybe it is an imprinted memory thing!


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 02:55 PM

I did get some pills that were suposed to help with my memory - but if I remember I should take them, I then have to find where I put them.

I can sing Tam lin right through - should I ever need to.

Once in a while I check to make sure it is still there, but something with three verses? No chance.


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Subject: RE: How do you go about learning a new song?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Sep 07 - 05:23 PM

"can sing Tam lin right through - should I ever need to"
WLTM
"lady with beard and open minded approach to sex who knows The Dowie Dens of Yarrow without recourse to notebook"


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